Now a days we don’t just use our phones to make calls and send text messages. Cell phones are now our cameras, documenting our daily lives. They have personal information stored on them, often times sensitive financial information. They store our passwords to numerous apps and they can tell someone dates, times, and places you have been in just a click, literally keeping a record of our every move.
So can the police search your cell phone? Only if they have probable cause, a warrant, or your consent.
Cell phones are protected by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. If a police officer has probable cause or a warrant to search your phone, they are going to search it. They are not going to ask your permission. If an officer asks if they can search your phone, just like a request to search your vehicle or your home, say no. It is never a good idea for law enforcement to delve into your personal life even if you have nothing to hide. Exercise your constitutional rights and do not consent to a search. If the officer states that they will go to a Judge to get a warrant to search your phone, let them. Only give up your phone or password to unlock your phone if the officer shows you that warrant.
If a police officer insists on taking your phone, even if it is illegal, do not resist. If you do, the officer has the ability to arrest you for obstructing justice, a violation of Florida Statute 843 and a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and 1 year of probation. If you think law enforcement has illegally seized your phone, contact the lawyers at Robertson & Hunter immediately. If it is after business hours, leave a message with our answering service and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Remember, it is your right to say no and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.